Author Archives: Descygna

About Descygna

Descygna is a health journalist who has made her health, and that of her family, a top priority. She loves making over traditional recipes and staying on top of the latest health trends.

Petition the FDA to Add Sugar in Teaspoons to Nutrition Labels

Be honest, do you read nutrition labels? I have to admit I read them more and more in a quest for better health. I try to pay attention to sodium, sugar, fat and calories and I’m especially focused on the ingredient list. These labels hold the key to the ingredients within the foods we eat and are often more telling of the quality of food than the often confusing nutrition facts.

As Americans we don’t follow the metric system, so understanding the number of grams of various elements in our food can prove difficult; for some it can make the information downright useless. To make that label even more relevant, there is a petition circulating at requesting that the FDA add the number of teaspoons of sugar to the “per serving” section on nutrition labels. They currently have 117 of 18,000 desired signatures.

Implementing this idea can help greatly with understanding just how much sugar is in the foods you are considering. Added sugar is one of many catalysts in the current levels of obesity we see throughout the country.

To see how helpful this change might be, I asked our resident registered dietician Mary Hartley if reflecting sugar measurements in teaspoons would be beneficial. “Yes it would be helpful if added sugar were separated from naturally occurring sugars in fruit, milk and some vegetables,” Mary said. When asked if seeing the sugar content in grams can make a difference in curbing obesity, Mary stated, “Obesity is a multifaceted, complex problem. I would not expect any single intervention to make a big difference, although many small actions do add up. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.” (more…)

Diabetes Returns in One-Fifth of Those Cured Through Bariatric Surgery

Many people who undergo bariatric procedures for weight loss like gastric bypass surgery, LAP band surgery, or gastric sleeve surgery enjoy drastic weight loss along with the elimination of many weight related diseases. Having a form of bariatric surgery happens to be one of the top ways to cure type 2 diabetes.

As many as 95 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes were cured of the disease through weight loss achieved as a result of their surgery. A new study done by the Mayo Clinic Arizona has recently shown that more than one-fifth of those who were cured have had their diabetes return within five years, even if the patient hadn’t gained any weight. Those who were most susceptible to this were those who had diabetes the longest prior to surgery.

In this study, 72 obese patients were monitored during the years 2000 to 2007 with all patients having had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Of those studied, a total of 66 patients had a diabetes reversal at some time, and then 14 of those patients had their diabetes return between three and five years after their surgery. Those who had diabetes for more than five years had almost four times the risk of it coming back than those who had it less than five years before surgery. (more…)

Prevent Breast Cancer After Menopause by Exercising Now

It’s common knowledge that exercise is good for your health and new studies are emerging every day that further validate this. One new study recently published in the journal Cancer examined more than 3,000 women, some with breast cancer and some not. Of the 3,000 women studied, those that exercised throughout their childbearing years were less likely to have breast cancer after menopause. Women who started exercising after menopause saw the same results of lower instances of breast cancer.

The lead researcher on this project was Lauren McCullough of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. When speaking about the results, she stated, “What we can say is exercise is good for you. It’s never too late to start. Our evidence suggests that if you start after menopause you can still help yourself.”

This study revealed that women who exercised between 10 and 19 hours per week during the years between having their first child and entering menopause reduced their likeliness of breast cancer by one third over those who didn’t exercise during that time. Those women that exercised nine to 17 hours per week and started after going through menopause were also 30 percent less likely to have breast cancer than those who were sedentary. Things like education, smoking and income were also accounted for in the study. (more…)

Zumba Becomes the World’s Largest Branded Fitness Program

When Alberto Perez started teaching aerobics in his hometown of Cali, Columbia, he was doing it to earn extra cash. Those aerobics classes blossomed into the fitness phenomenon that is known worldwide as Zumba. Zumba Fitness is a privately held company, but it has grown from just classes to a fitness empire that has attracted some big time investors.

Now you can get Zumba DVDs, video games, clothes or take the classes in more than 125 countries. Zumba, a Latin dance-inspired aerobic workout, started in a Miami garage almost 11 years ago. The fun dance classes have attracted not only the attention of investors, but also hip-hop stars that want their music featured in classes and on the videos. When teaching his first classes in Miami, Alberto, also known as Beto, was teaching the mother of Alberto Perlman. Perlman partnered with Beto and had the idea to take the classes to video for infomercial sale. (more…)

Disney to Ban Capri Sun, Lunchables, and Other Unhealthy Advertisers

The Walt Disney Company made an announcement today concerning the type of advertising they will allow on their kid-friendly web sites, radio and television stations. The move by Disney is designed to curb childhood obesity and requires advertisers to meet a strict set of nutritional rules. These standards will also be enforced on the Saturday morning cartoons that are run on stations owned by Disney, like ABC.

Disney’s decision will obviously result in some lost advertising revenue, but the company believes that the end outcome is more important. Due to current contracts that are in place, these changes will not take place until 2015. At that time the new standards will apply to programming targeted at children 12 and younger.

Some of the products that will be excluded under the new restrictions include Capri Sun drinks, Kraft Lunchables, candy, sugared cereal and fast food. Disney isn’t just enforcing higher nutrition standards, they are also changing the food served in their parks. They plan to reduce the sodium on all of the children’s meals served at their theme parks by 25 percent. (more…)

Top 6 Best Tasting Diet Plans, as Rated by Consumers

For those looking to lose weight with a potential diet food program, taste is very important.

Finding a meal program that offers good food can be the difference in sticking with the plan or giving up in a very short period of time. But now you can take a first-hand look at how everyday consumers rated the most popular diet food programs when it comes to taste. conducted a blind taste test to answer questions about how some of the most popular diet foods taste. They conducted their first test in October 2010 and have since completed another to have the most up-to-date results possible since diet companies constantly update their menus and inventory, according to lifestyle editor Polina Polishchuk.

The taste test included eight different companies which were rated in the categories of breakfast, lunch and dinner. The meal plans for each program were ordered anonymously and included between 1,200 and 1,350 calories per day. The participants included males and females of varying ages. And to keep the results unbiased, the test was “completely independent with no input from the diet food companies and no visible branding to sway our testers’ opinions,” said Polishchuk. (more…)

Start Eating More Calcium Rich Foods During National Osteoporosis Month

Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time. In light of May being National Osteoporosis Month, it seems appropriate to take a look at some of the causes and consider some of the foods that can help strengthen your bones. Some of the leading causes of osteoporosis are lack of vitamin D, sedentary lifestyle, estrogen deficiencies in women, and low testosterone in men.

According to Dr. Linda Russell, a Rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, there are certain factors that can put you at higher risk for osteoporosis including being Caucasian or Asian, having a petite body, going through menopause before age 45, tobacco use, family history of osteoporosis, and taking medications like glucocorticoids, aromatase inhibitors and anticonvulsants. For those who may be at risk, you can get tested.

Dr. Russell stated, “A DEXA (dual x-ray absorptiometry) can detect osteoporosis. Medicare allows this test to be done every two years and every year if the patient is on glucocorticoids or has primary hyperparathyroidism. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a DEXA in women at menopause and men at 70. The US Preventative Task Force recommends a baseline for women at age 65, but earlier if risk factors are present.” (more…)

Fasting 16 Hours a Day Shows Benefits Over Calorie Counting

In the world of health, fitness and weight loss, there seem to be a large number of studies constantly conducted to help us figure out how to fight obesity and get healthy. Recently, another study with important outcomes has published with some drastic results.

Identified as a way to have your cake and eat it too, this study shows that eating your last meal of the day earlier, and then fasting for a 16 hour stretch before eating breakfast, can decrease the risk of weight gain and decrease the onset of weight related diseases. The study was headed by regulatory biologist Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute in California. and was done on mice. He made the statement, “We have to come up with something that is a simple alternative to calorie counting.” The results of the study were published in the journal Cell Metabolism. Within the study, the participating mice were divided into groups and had a regulated diet for a total of 100 days. (more…)

Fructose Makes Rats Dumber, Study Shows

It looks like the soft drink industry and other sugar-laden product companies are going to take another hit in the name of fructose.

A recent study on fructose’s effects on rats showed that when fed water laced with fructose for a period of six weeks, the rats’ performance in maze navigation was slower.

This experiment was conducted by researchers at UCLA, and the results concluded that the brain is responding to insulin from the fructose consumed by the rats. The senior author of the study is UCLA professor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, and the findings were published in the Journal of Physiology.

Of the study, Gomez-Pinilla said, “Our study shows that a high fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. We’re concerned about high-fructose corn syrup, which is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative.” Gomez-Pinilla specified that this study is not just about high-fructose corn syrup, though. He mentioned that all sugar, including table sugar, juices and any form of added sugar should be avoided. Studies like this have repeatedly shown that the sugar contributes to instances of obesity, diabetes and blood-fat disturbances in rodents. (more…)

Obesity Could Affect 42 Percent of Americans By 2030

As Americans waist lines continue to expand, the number of obese people is rapidly rising. In fact, the latest projections on the subject of obesity show that as high as 42 percent of Americans will be obese by the year 2030. It is also projected that 11 percent of Americans will be severely (or morbidly) obese. All of this added weight will also contribute to billions of dollars in additional health care costs. As we know, when weight goes up, so do the chances for weight related diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, sleep apnea, headaches, migraines and several others.

About 36 percent of Americans were classified as obese in 2010 and six percent were severely obese. Individuals typically have to be 30 pounds over a healthy weight to be classified as obese, and being 100 pounds or more overweight is classified as severely obese. Something to keep in mind is that the 42 percent increase in obesity would be 32 million people in addition to the 78 million people that were accounted for as obese in 2010. (more…)